Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents.
They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles
as a cause of fatalities. The OSHA standards for walking/working surfaces apply
to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or
agricultural work is performed.
Walking/working surfaces are addressed in specific standards for the general
industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and the
This section highlights OSHA standards, the Regulatory
Agenda (a list of actions being taken with regard to OSHA standards), directives
(instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official
letters of interpretation of the standards) related to walking/working surfaces.
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
General Industry (29
- 1910 Subpart D, Walking-working surfaces
Guarding floor and wall openings and holes
Fixed industrial stairs
Portable wood ladders
Portable metal ladders
Safety requirements for scaffolding [related
Manually propelled mobile ladder stands and scaffolds (towers)
Other working surfaces
1910 Subpart F, Powered platforms, manlifts, and vehicle-mounted work platforms
1910.66, Powered platforms for building maintenance
1910 Subpart R,
Shipyard Employment (29
1915 Subpart E, Scaffolds, ladders and other working surfaces
1915.71, Scaffolds or staging
Guarding of deck openings and edges
Access to vessels
Access to and guarding of dry docks and marine railways
Access to cargo spaces and confined spaces
Marine Terminals (29
1917 Subpart B, Marine terminal operations
1917 Subpart F, Terminal facilities
Maintenance and load limits
Guarding of edges
Platforms and skids
Elevators and escalators
- 1917.117, Manlifts
Dockboards (car and bridge plates)
Guarding temporary hazards
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- Shipyard Employment "Tool Bag" Directive. CPL 02-00-156, (2014, February 6). Provides OSHA offices, interested industry representatives, State Plan programs and federal agencies with guidance concerning the application of occupational safety and health standards in shipyard employment. Also, this instruction provides current information and ensures the consistent enforcement of OSHA's shipyard employment standards (29 CFR Part 1915).
Cancellation of STD 01-01-007 (29 CFR 1910.23, Guarding Floor and Wall Opening and Holes - General Industry).
06-03 (CPL 02), (2006, June 16).
Interim Inspection Procedures During Communication Tower Construction Activities. CPL 02-01-036 [CPL 2-1.36], (2002, March 26).
- Inspection of Grain Handling Facilities, 29 CFR 1910.272.
CPL 02-01-004 [CPL 2-1.4C], (1996, November 8).
- Fixed Ladders Used on Outdoor Advertising Structures/Billboards in the Outdoor Advertising Industry.
STD 01-01-014 [STD 1-1.14], (1993, January 26).
- Fall Protection in General Industry 29 CFR 1910.23(c)(1), (c)(3), and 29 CFR 1910.132(a).
STD 01-01-013 [STD 1-1.13], (1984, April 16).
- Application of 29 CFR 1910.27, Fixed Ladders, to Fixed Ladders Used in Emergency Situations.
STD 01-01-012 [STD 1-1.12], (1983, June 20).
- 29 CFR 1910.27, Clarification of Fixed Ladders, Relative to Manhole (Rungs) Steps.
STD 01-01-009 [STD 1-1.9], (1978, December 29).
29 CFR 1910.23(c), Metal Pouring Platforms -- Protection of Open- sided Floors, Platforms and Runways. STD 01-01-008
[STD 1-1.8], (1978, October 30).
29 CFR 1910.23(e)(5), (iii), Clearance of Handrails and Railings -- General Industry. STD 01-01-006 [STD 1-1.6], (1978, October 30).
- 29 CFR 1910.23(c)(1), Protection of Opensided Floors, Platforms and Runways; Guardrails -- Loading Rack Platforms.
STD 01-01-005 [STD 1-1.5], (1978, October 30).
- Search all available
Hazards and Solutions
There are many situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls, such as ice, wet spots, grease, polished floors, loose flooring or carpeting, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cords, open desk drawers and filing cabinets, and damaged ladder steps. The controls needed to prevent these hazards are usually obvious, but too often ignored, such as keeping walkways and stairs clear of scrap and debris; coiling up extension cords, lines, and hoses when not in use; keeping electrical and other wires out of the way; wearing lug soles in icy weather; clearing parking lots, stairs, and walkways in snowy weather; and using salt/sand as needed.
The following references provide information on walking/working surfaces
hazards and prevention.
- Small Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also available as a 588 KB
PDF, 56 pages.
- Stairways and Ladders: A Guide to OSHA Rules. OSHA Publication 3124-12R, (2003).
Also available as a 155 KB
PDF, 15 pages.
- Safety and Health Information Bulletins (SHIBs). OSHA.
- Construction Hazards [69 KB
PDF*, 1 page]. OSHA Quick Card.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). OSHA Quick Card. Also available as a 19 KB
PDF, 1 page.
- Walking-Working Surfaces [3 MB
ZIP*]. OSHA assists trainers conducting OSHA 10-hour general industry outreach training for workers. Since workers are the target audience, the material emphasizes hazard identification, avoidance, and control — not standards. No attempt has been made to treat the topic exhaustively.
- Scaffolding. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
Construction. OSHA eTool. A Spanish version
is also available. Helps workers identify and control the hazards that cause the most serious construction-related injuries.
- Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants. OSHA eTool.
Discusses slips, trips, and falls throughout the eTool.
The following reference provides information regarding how to identify and evaluate hazards involving walking/working surfaces.
- Construction. OSHA eTool. A Spanish version is also available. Helps workers identify and control the hazards that cause the most serious construction-related injuries.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF and ZIP materials.
*These files are provided for downloading.